Baboons attack three hikers in South Africa

Baboons attack three hikers in South Africa

Three hikers had their legs broken after coming under attack from angry baboons who rolled rocks over a cliff at them in South Africa.

The peeved-off primates became agitated when they saw the unusual sight of seven men abseiling down their territory in remote mountains.

The group of seven had reached a narrow ledge at a waterfall in the Banhoek Mountains near Stellenbosch when two of the hikers rapelled down.

The remaining five however suddenly came under fire from a barrage of rocks from the baboons above with a 130lb (60kg) boulder landing between them.

The giant rock exploded on impact and sent razor sharp rock shards flying like shrapnel breaking the legs of three hikers who collapsed in agony.

The fourth suffered a flesh wound and the fifth was hit by part of the boulder and nearly knocked over the edge but was saved by his safety harness.

But the hikers ordeal was far from over as dozens more rocks rained down on them from the baboons above forcing them to shelter in by the cliff face.

One of the hikers despite being in such a remote area managed to make an SOS call for help and the Air Mercy Service helicopter was mobilised.

A team from Wilderness Search and Rescue was on board.

The baboons had moved on so the WSAR paramedics could be winched down and put the most seriously injured victim in a stretcher and winch him to the chopper.

They then hoisted the two other men with broken legs up to the chopper and all three were dropped off at a rendezvous point where ambulances were waiting.

The other four made their own way back down the cliffs.

WSAR spokesman Johann Marais said: ‘We commend the two uninjured hikers for remaining calm and doing a fantastic job caring for the inured and wish them a speedy recovery’.

A baboon expert who specialises in rescuing the primates from urban areas said: ‘Baboons are capable of throwing rocks but they can only throw them underarm.

‘Their shoulder blades are at a different angle to the ribs than in humans and are flat in to their side they have to throw underarm but can throw very hard.

‘Whether they were deliberately throwing the rocks at the hikers or just dislodging them I guess will never be known but that was a lot of rocks to accidentally dislodge.

‘Baboons are curious and can become easily upset by things they are not used to and would be used to humans walking along cliff paths but not abseiling down them.

‘It takes a lot to accidentally dislodge a 60kg boulder’ she said.

All three patients are recovering after being taken to hospital.

The Cape baboon is one of the world’s biggest monkeys and can weigh up to 80lbs and grow to 4 feet long not including the tail and have 5 inch teeth.

The omnivores can run at 30mph and have up to 50 in a troop and their biggest predator in the wild is leopards but they only attack if feel threatened.

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